When trying to lose weight, the first thing you may increase is your level of exercise. But what about the amount of sleep you’re getting every night? The truth is that getting the proper amount of rest and decreasing your stress levels can powerfully fight off one of the natural causes of belly fat: cortisol.
Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures
Our bodies are amazing machines. Nature always has a way of protecting us in case of hard times. When we have higher levels of stress, our bodies make a desperate attempt to prepare us, triggering a chemical reaction inside of us that transfers us into a type of “survival” mode. Our bodies make a chemical called cortisol, which directly affects your belly fat. Our bodies do what they’ve done for thousands of years; they store up belly fat for the “hard times ahead.”
Speaking of hard times, our stressful culture truly puts our bodies’ survival skills to the test. Society doesn’t make having washboard abs easy. Social, personal, financial and work obligations pile on the stress; not to mention the horribly inadequate diets we put our bodies through, basically starving ourselves of needed energy and nutrients. This self-imposed state of famine adds even more stress on our bodies and adds to the waistline.
Stop and Smell the Chamomile Tea
Let’s try the opposite of what most people do when trying to lose weight: simply relax and slow down. The amount of sleep you get is directly related to how well you handle the stress around you. Therefore, more rest equals less stress. Eat a balanced diet in moderation, get regular exercise, and allow your body the rest and time it requires to create endorphins (the feel-good chemicals that you want instead of belly fat cortisol). Enough endorphins in your body help you feel an overall sense of well-being.
It’s a well known fact that most individuals do not get even close to the 7 to 10 hours of sleep their bodies need. You may be one of them. While most of us would love to hear our doctor prescribe more rest, the hard part is actually getting that down time. So, if you want to lose weight and ward off belly fat cortisol, it’s time to trade catching up on emails for catching up on your sleep.
How can you make sure you are getting adequate sleep? The easiest way to find out is to simply do a quick review of how many hours of sleep you are getting on a regular basis. If you sleep less than 7 hours each night, identify what is keeping you up. Ironically, as a way of winding down, we often turn to the television, a glass of wine, food or the computer. These very things can often be robbing us of an extra hour or two of quality sleep. So, avoid caffeine after noon. Make your bedroom a peaceful, quiet room. Wind down with a good book or a cup of chamomile tea, or with personal devotions.
Remember this: More sleep equals less stress, which produces more endorphins and less cortisol. Low cortisol equals less belly fat! Easy enough, right?
If you’re able to catch up on your sleep but you still are struggling with a midsection that just won’t cooperate, or if your belly is still holding on to evidence of your last pregnancy, there are highly effective and proven methods of bringing your midsection back to normal, and in many cases, better than it was even before the stress and babies. For example, Smartlipo™ and CoolSculpting™ are just two of the effective procedures that the experts at Byrd Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Center use for fat removal. Unlike traditional liposuction methods, Smartlipo™ requires less downtime. It is ideal for treating concentrated areas of stomach fat or other areas of the body. CoolSculpting™ is also a clinically proven, nonsurgical method for the selective reduction of body fat. Results are permanent.